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  1. Eastern Panhandle counties represent the most growth in West Virginia

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    MARTINSBURG – West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle gave a strong showing in newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau, with Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties claiming the top three spots for growth in the state, out of only eight counties that grew in population.

    The data shows the percent change in population between every county in the United States between July 1, 2022 and July 1, 2023.

    According to the Census Bureau’s data, Berkeley County’s population grew 2.37%, while Jefferson’s grew 1.33% and Morgan’s grew 1.23%. Hampshire and Hardy counties, also a part of the Eastern Panhandle, grew 0.82% and 0.59% respectively, while the only other counties in West Virginia to see growth were Marion, Monongalia and Monroe.


    In total, Berkeley County’s population gained 3,061 people, while Jefferson gained 786 and Morgan gained 214.

    The population growth in Berkeley County is no surprise, considering its proximity to metropolitan areas like Washington D.C. Between 2010 and 2020, the county’s population grew by more than 21,000 people, an increase of 21%.

    Jefferson and Morgan counties growth rates have increased significantly from the previous years, almost doubling from 0.7% and 0.8 % from 2021 to 2022, to 1.33% and 1.23%.

    Between 2010 and 2020, Jefferson County’s population added 5,600 people, or about 4.6%, ranking it fourth in the state. At the same time, Morgan County’s population actually declined losing just over 300 people, about 2% of its population.

    Counties surrounding the Eastern Panhandle in states like Maryland and Pennsylvania saw similar rates of growth between 2022 and 2023.

    Nationwide, about 60% of counties experienced growth, an increase from the 52% that the Census Bureau released last year. Much of that growth took place in in the South, with 67% (950) of the counties growing between 2022 and 2023.

    Other areas, like the Northeast and Midwest, lost more in population than they gained.

    “Domestic migration patterns are changing, and the impact on counties is especially evident,” said Lauren Bowers, chief of the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Branch. “Areas which experienced high levels of domestic out-migration during the pandemic, such as in the Midwest and Northeast, are now seeing more counties with population growth. Meanwhile, county population growth is slowing down out west, such as in Arizona and Idaho.”


    Original Article by Tom Markland, The Journal

    Original Article Here